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Patience and Anticipation While Shooting

Lesson 19 from: Family Photography: Creating a Successful Business

Kirsten Lewis

Patience and Anticipation While Shooting

Lesson 19 from: Family Photography: Creating a Successful Business

Kirsten Lewis

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Lesson Info

19. Patience and Anticipation While Shooting


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


What Makes a Picture Successful?


Technical Tips: ISO


Technical Tips: Aperture


Technical Tips: Shutter Speed


Technical Tips: Focus


Using Light to Tell a Story


Using Composition to Tell a Story


Lesson Info

Patience and Anticipation While Shooting

This is key. You have to be patient. Patient. And persistent. Patience is what kills, or the lack of patience is what kills potential photos. I say with the job that we do, if we want real honest, good moments, you have to give your subjects time and opportunity to gift you pictures. Right, because we can't control what they're doing. All we can do is be patient and wait. Read their body language. Listen to what they're saying. Anticipate and expect what might happen, right? But at the end, you have to give them time to deliver the photos that you want. You can't rush that, and so, you just have to be patient. You guys remember this from the first class? This idea of squirreling your ideas away. I'm just going to reiterate it again. Squirrels collect lots of nuts, but they don't eat them right away, right? They hoard, like my daughter with everything. She just hoards everything. Squirrels hoard their nuts, and they hide them, and they eat them later. So, we should be doing that with ph...

otos. So, every potential photo that you see, or every photo that you might miss, or every photo that could be but the elements haven't come together yet, instead of giving up on them, you're like a squirrel, and it's your nut. You're going to put that idea away, keep it in your pocket, and then, if you see something that suggests it might manifest, then you make a photo of it. Does that make sense, like, verbalizing this? I'm trying to think of an example. Oh, I have an example. So, I was photographing a family where, do you ever notice this, like, the three-year-olds, two- and three-year-olds sometimes walk on their tippy-toes? Okay, that's something that doesn't happen forever, and that, like, little space in time when they do that is short, but it's really significant in terms of that growth period, right? So, if I see a kid doing that, I really want to make a good photo of it, but I'm not gonna just shoot it to shoot it, right? I'm gonna make a note of it, like a squirrel, and say, "Oh, this kid walks around on his tippy-toes." Right, so, when I see a situation where I think I'm gonna make a great photo with interesting details or important context, then, I'm gonna try and execute that photo later with him on his tippy-toes. I'm not gonna shoot it just for the sake of shooting it, I'm gonna pocket that idea away and wait for the ideal situation when I can make a photo of that, yes? Does that make sense? Okay, you guys remember the Donkey Pull? Okay, so, as much as I'm asking you to be committed to a photo, and we're gonna look at my contact sheet in a minute, and I'm gonna show you what I'm talking about when I commit to an image, if there is nothing else interesting happening, sit with it, wait for it, give it some time for your subjects to gift you the photo. Now, if there happens to be something amazing happening in the other room, that is time where you can let go of the photo that you're making and go make it. The example I gave with the Donkey Pull is I was working with a student in the field. He was photographing these little girls on their farm, or whatever, back and forth on their horse, back and forth on their horse, and he just stayed there photographing the kids back and forth on the horse, and I turn around, and I see a little girl literally fighting with a donkey, like, she's like five, the donkey's, like, probably two, and they are literally pulling back and forth. An amazing visual, I'm like, "There is a "little girl fighting with a donkey over there "pulling a donkey, why aren't you shooting that?" He's like, "Well, you told me I "had to commit to this photo." So, the point was, if there's a Donkey Pull situation, then you evacuate this mission, and then you move on to the next. Does that make sense? 'Cause I get asked that all the time. "How long do you stay with a photo?" Well, I basically stay with a photo until another one presents itself to me. And the last one is Shooting For the Future, and this is something that I am learning to get better and better at and, for me, is the best tool I have in terms of making photos. And so, this is the idea of learning how to predict behavior. I just gave you a bunch of tools in the last segment to help you with that, right? So, if we know that kids repeat their behavior over and over again, right? So, if I know that kids repeat their behavior, I can get my composition ready, and I can get my light ready, and I can wait, because I think that they're going to do it again, and that way, I can make a photo that's deliberate and not something that I'm reacting to. Does that make sense? Again, we're gonna actually talk about all this when we look at my contact sheet.

Class Materials

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Ratings and Reviews


I own Kirsten's 3 classes. And they are ALL amazing, inspiring and refreshing. She is not only a super talented photographer but an amazing teacher and person as well. I have learned so much from each one of her classes. I have never met a photographer so willing to share and see their students succeed. I highly recommend people not only to buy this class, but all 3! I would not be the photographer I am today if it wasn’t for her. After following her advise for the last 3 years I am finally engaging with the audience I want and I feel true to myself in the way I shoot. This makes a huge difference in my everyday. I am am truly grateful to this photo wizard lady. ps: warning, make sure you are on birth control. These classes might make you want to have children, just to get amazing images like the ones she takes LOL (joking) #not

Carrie Littauer

This workshop was by far the best photography workshop I have ever been a part of. Kirsten's work, her humor, her authenticity, her expertise and perspective will forever change the way I work with families and go about documentary photography. I am so motivated and inspired to dig deeper into my role as a photographer, and as a person, to make a real difference in the lives of those that I photograph and with my art. I'm thrilled to have been in the LIVE studio and am so grateful for Creative Live for giving phenomenal artists like Kirsten this exposure and opportunity to teach other creatives like myself! Thank you.

Johanne Lila

In the very minutes Kirsten Lewis' first class (first of three) for cL aired, I realized I needed in on this awesomeness. I became a 1 Year Mentorship student with her right away, and now I have been so incredibly fortunate to be in the studio audience for the live taping of her final class (or the third of the three, who knows what the future might hold!). For me as a 'Kirsten Lewis alumni' taking this class was perfect. I was reminded of things I knew, but had forgotten. I learned a ton of new stuff. But most of all, I remembered why we do this work in the first place: The love that is right there in the reality of life. How much this work matters to real families out there. And how much it matters to keep getting better at this, to give our families better work. I will be forever greatful that I chose the best mentor, Kirsten is such a gift to all of us. And if you're still in doubt: This class is AMAZING! If you're new, if you've at it for a while, if you're alumni: Gold is HERE!

Student Work